Apparatus at the Salisbury Fire Department is draped in black, and flags throughout the town on Maryland's Eastern Shore are at half-staff to honor a young man who died of injuries sustained in Iraq.
Firefighter/Paramedic Michael McMullen, 25, was seriously injured Christmas Eve while tending to a fellow solider following an attack on his convoy, said Steve Dickerson, a fire department spokesman.
McMullen, a member of an engineering company with the Maryland Army National Guard, was originally treated for his injuries overseas before being transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Fellow firefighters had the opportunity to visit him.
"It's been a heck of a day," Dickerson said Thursday. "We were as prepared as we could be. At least, we got to say good-bye."
Dickerson called McMullen "an energetic go-getter" who will be missed. "You never had to ask him twice to do anything."
Although he wasn't in Iraq as a firefighter or paramedic, McMullen was injured by a secondary explosive device while he was treating the driver of a vehicle hit moments earlier.
McMullen was engaged, and had planned to get married after his deployment was over. "He died not as a solider but as a paramedic..."
Dickerson said the Salisbury mayor has ordered all city flags to half mast, and firefighters' badges contain black bands.
"We're planning a full firefighter funeral," Dickerson said. "And, he'll be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
More information about McMullen and the funeral can be seen at Salisbury Fire Department.